As we age and move through the world, natural wear and tear on our bodies
can create pain in our joints. Ankle and knee pain are some of the most common
complaints in athletes and aging fitness enthusiasts. Several conditions lead
to pain in these areas, and treatments vary depending on the patient and their
background. Orthotics can help treat your pain and improve your quality of
life. In this article, we can help you understand the common causes of ankle
and knee pain and how orthotics can help you manage them.
Common causes of knee and ankle pain
The knees and ankles are two of the most used joints in the body because we
use them to walk, run, stand, and perform other necessary daily tasks. If you injure
these joints, you can severely limit your mobility and independence. Moreover,
you can experience pain or discomfort. Here are some common causes of knee and
Your joints contain fibrous material called ligaments that connect your bones. When you stretch or tear these ligaments, you can radiate pain into your joints and other body parts. This injury is a sprain and can be very painful. Moreover, the pain makes it hard to weigh and limits the joint’s mobility.
You can develop fractures in a bone through blunt force or other injuries. This is also known as breaking a bone. The fracture refers to the exact place on the bone where the pieces have split. When you break a bone, the strain on the tissue surrounding it can cause swelling or pain in your joints.
Overuse of the muscles
Some athletes overuse their muscles during training. Some people may overuse a muscle to compensate for a weakness in another muscle. If you are working your muscles without rest or working them incorrectly, you may overuse them, resulting in swelling, fatigue, and pain.
Joints are sockets within your body that contain more than one bone. Sometimes, injuries force your bones out of their natural setting within the socket and result in dislocation. This can be very painful and limit your ability to use that bone. In these cases, the treatment may be to force the bone back into its socket.
According to Arthritis.org, Arthritis refers to several conditions that result in joint degradation. These conditions may be caused by environment, genetics, or age.
Infections cause inflammation and discomfort anywhere it manifests, including in your joints. While infection should be treated specifically, ankle or knee pain may last longer than the infection as a side effect. Then, it would require additional treatment.
Some health conditions affect the nerves in your body that communicate sensations to your brain. When you damage those nerves, they can communicate painful sensations without obvious cause.
What are orthotics?
Orthotics are medical devices that a podiatrist or specialist prescribes to their patient. You place them in your shoes to adjust how your feet move and how you distribute your weight. They help you alleviate any unnecessary pressure and adjust awkward muscle usage. They can provide arch support and help alleviate pain up to your lower back.
Your feet, ankles, knees and hips are connected by a muscle chain through your leg. As one muscle is impacted, it tightens or loosens and affects the other muscles in the chain. For example, if your natural standing stance puts an undue amount of pressure on the inside of your foot, your ankle muscles can tighten, causing a chain reaction throughout the muscles in your leg. An orthotic device evens the weight distribution between the inside and the outside of your foot, reducing the pressure on your ankle and, therefore, the rest of your leg.
Types of orthotics
There are two types of orthotics:
Rigid orthotics: These devices are made of hard materials like plastic or carbon fiber, and they are worn in walking shoes or shoes with closed heels. A podiatrist may prescribe rigid orthotics, also known as functional orthotics, to ease pain in the muscles in your foot, ankle, knee or elsewhere in your posterior chain.
Soft orthotics: These devices are made from soft compression materials and are sometimes called accommodative orthotics. A podiatrist may prescribe these to help with more site-specific pain in your foot caused by conditions like plantar fasciitis or diabetic foot ulcers.
Four ways orthotics can help knee and ankle pain
If you are suffering from pain or discomfort, using orthotics as an element of your treatment can help you feel more comfortable and capable. Here are some orthotics benefits:
1. Custom orthotics are specific to each patient
Your knee and ankle pain is unique to you. Additionally, it is caused by a specific combination of your health and environment. Orthotics are different from shoe inserts you buy in the pharmacy. They are prescribed and made custom for each patient. To receive orthotics, you can see a podiatrist or specialist with orthotics education. They conduct an examination that evaluates how you walk, run, and stand, then take x-rays to look at your bone placement. After determining the assistance you need, they mold your foot to ensure the orthotics fit perfectly and provide the right support. The specifics of the device increase its effectiveness.
2. Orthotics can improve your biomechanics
Biomechanics refers to the mechanics of your body, meaning how your body moves. By providing your body with external support fitted to your needs, you can correct how your body moves to reduce your pain. There are various reasons your biomechanics may be creating pain in your ankles or knees, but you can use these devices to adjust how you move. You can correct your biomechanics to reduce pain using a specialist’s expertise and prescription for a specialized orthotics device.
3. Different types of orthotics can help with specific ailments
Depending on what is causing your pain, you can use different orthotics to assist you. As your body changes and your muscles grow or deteriorate, you can update your orthotics to reflect your needs. You can also use rigid or soft orthotics depending on your needs. Additionally, some patients may require both. Then, as you continue to adjust your treatment and improve your biomechanics, you can utilize different orthotic devices.
4. Orthotics are non-invasive
Orthotics are a holistic approach to ankle and knee pain. Some doctors may prescribe pain medication, but it’s equally important to address the cause of the pain too. Furthermore, by providing corrective devices, you can avoid more invasive treatments, like surgery, to correct your ankle or knee pain. Orthotics can be an essential element of your holistic healing plan by considering how each element of your body affects your other muscles and joints. By addressing your biomechanics, you can also improve your posture, speed, mobility, and body control.
At Living Well Balanced, we offer a wide range of holistic fitness and physical health services from caring and experienced professionals. We provide personal training and physical, occupational, and nutritional therapy to assist our clients in their health and wellness management. You can make an appointment with one of our physical therapists to learn how they can benefit your treatment plan for injury recovery or prevention and chronic pain. If you have any questions, you can always give us a call at 212-579-2858 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our blog for more information about alternative therapies.